Yesterday, Georgetown Current’s Carol Buckley alerted GM to the draconian plan that WMATA is floating to close a massive budget gap. Among other changes, the proposal would stop all weekend late-night bus service between Georgetown and Dupont Circle and cut early morning service as well.
What WMATA is specifically proposing is the following:
- Cut off all bus service at 12:44 Friday night and 12:55 Saturday night (that’s four different buses each night).
- Cut off all westbound service from Howard at 11:44 Friday night and 11:47 Saturday night. Cut off all eastbound from GU at 12:18 Friday night and 12:22 Saturday night.
- Add one minute to morning peak headways and three minutes to evening peak headways
- Add a whopping 10 minutes(!) to all Saturday and Sunday headways (i.e., now buses will come every 40 minutes all-day instead of every half-hour).
- Cut ten buses from the early morning commute hour (four eastbound and six westbound).
- cut four buses from early weekend mornings (two eastbound and two westbound).
With one glaring exception, most of these changes would not be noticed by the typical Georgetown bus rider. They are at very late hours or very early hours.
That one exception, of course, is the 33% service reduction of weekend G2 routes. The G2 already comes at such infrequency as to make it an option only for the patient or the desperate. This will make that situation even worse.
While some will likely cheer having fewer buses drive by late at night, GM is opposed to this proposal because it takes away a safe option for late night revelers. Right now there are eight late night buses from Dupont on the weekend. That’s enough to make it a reliable option. Once these changes go through, people will have to find other options. Unfortunately, some might decide to drive. Other may choose to walk. Safer yes, but potentially more noisy than the buses.
In addition, this will adversely affect late-night employees at G.U. and the hospital, who are more likely to be dependent on mass transit.
If you would like to learn more about these changes, come to WMATA’s community meeting this Thursday night at All Souls Church at 1500 Harvard St. in Columbia Heights.